Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting the Most out of Therapy – Questions for Reflection

One hour isn’t a lot of time, which means most of the therapeutic work you do will be outside of your therapist’s office. That’s not to say therapy should be ignored; many important topics arise and of course, the greatest benefit comes from having someone who cares listen to what you have to say.

Below are some questions you can review after your session to help identify issues that may need further discussion or simply just to give you the time to reflect on what is most relevant to you and help you understand yourself better.

Set aside some time during the week to review these questions. You may want to answer them by journaling in a free-writing style or by working through each question individually. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the questions, leaving lots of space between, and print off copies that you can fill in. However you decide to approach it, I highly recommend actually writing your thoughts down. That way, when complicated issues arise, you can easily review what you worked on the previous week so that you keep moving forward in your work. It will also help as a reminder for things you want to discuss in upcoming sessions. Lastly, by bringing in to session something tangible with your thoughts at least laid out, if not completely worked out, you may find the extra courage to talk about subjects you have had difficult bringing up before.

For all the questions, also consider ‘why’ for each one.

Questions to review after a session:

- What came up that surprised me?
- What did I learn?
- Did I talk about the things I intended to?
* What were the things I most wanted to discuss?
* What blocks prevented me from doing so?
- Did I intentionally not discuss anything? Why not?
* If there’s something you don’t feel comfortable talking to your
therapist about, you can explore, with them, why that might be.
- What were some of the most intense thoughts/feelings that arose during
- What were some of the most helpful or pleasant events?
* This doesn’t have to be anything major. Maybe you just enjoyed
how comfortable the chair felt.
- If I could change, explain, or reword something I said what would it be and
how would I change it?
- Was there anything my therapist said that I would like to be explained
- Is there anything I can do to make my sessions work better for me?
* Maybe bringing in an object of comfort or making a point of saying
something you have difficulty talking about.
- How can I help someone else this coming week?
- What’s the one thing I most want to work on this week?
* This isn’t to say you shouldn’t work on other things, but is there
to help you focus your attention and energy on difficult work you
might otherwise choose to avoid.
- What can I do right now to make the week less stressful?

Questions to review before a session:

Most of these questions came from this site.

- What one thing do I most want to discuss?
- What did I learn last week?
- What was my greatest accomplishment over the past week?
- Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why?
- What have I struggled with in the past that might also affect the upcoming
- Was there anything I felt was not a beneficial use of my time?
- Are there any issues that I am ready to let go of?
- What have I been avoiding?
- What opportunities are available?
- Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals?
- What’s the next step for each goal?
- What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week?
- What are my fears?
- What am I most grateful for?
* Try keeping a daily gratitude journal and review it once a week for
events that were especially notable.

Questions to review a few times each year:

Another good site with thoughtful questions.

- In what ways have I changed?
* These might be major life changes or smaller things such as changing
your morning routine.
- Which of these changes have been the most beneficial?
- Which of these changes have been the least beneficial?
- Am I satisfied with the work I’ve been doing on myself?
- Have there been any internal or external blocks to my progress?
- What are my goals?
* Have they changed? Have some goals been accomplished?
- Do I have the best of intentions?
- How am I spending my time?
* Which of these activities are most/least beneficial? Are there any
you can do without?
- What has been troubling me the most?
- What has been my most memorable moment?
- What am I most proud of?
- Do I support those that support me?
- Have I been challenging myself?
- Have any of my interests changed?
* It’s important to remember that change it’s a natural process and a
change in interests may simply reflect this. However, sometimes are
interests change because we are avoiding certain things. Explore why
these changes have occurred keeping in mind it’s ok to move on from one
interest to another if that’s benefiting you.
- What motivates me?
- What have I most enjoyed doing?
- What have I done well?
- What are sources/drains on my energy?
- When do I feel most like myself?
- What am I good at?
- Are there any new things I would like to try?
- Where am I meeting resistance right now?
- If I was brave, what would I do?
- What are my dreams?
- What is the easiest thing I can do next?


  1. I really like this list... it's nice to structure a bit of clarity and concisement into the thick hazy cloud inside one's mind. I plan to use this, thank you:)

  2. If you can think of anything else to add I would love to hear it.

  3. whoah this blog is magnificent i really like reading your articles.
    Keep up the good work! You know, lots of people are searching around for this info,
    you can help them greatly.
    my page :: Phone Counseling